Women protective of health and life
Over generations women have orally transmitted the knowledge which is useful for care and health, knowledge which is symbolically expressed in numerous myths, legends, rituals and protective amulets, to which people so often resort to avoid possible deaths or diseases or to explain that –in spite of everything- they happen. Songs, tales and legends about women, life and illness are found in all cultures, and they transmit identity values.
Many female mythological characters have lasted over time, passing from one culture to another, sometimes keeping their original name or having their attributes assumed by women with new names and personalities.
A minority of women in the elite –educated and with many other advantages- carried out professions which were considered only apt for men, whereas others with ability and education to do them were forced to limit themselves to social tasks, usually linked to charity. Some of them made a significant contribution to social, sanitary and educational protection for girls and women from the most underprivileged sectors.
Women’s incorporation as medical professionals gradually starts at the end of the 19th century, and is fast in nursing qualifications but slower in medicine, but in the 20th century